Continuing through February 11, 2012
If taken literally, the promise of "Sublimation Simulacrum" would be Freud meeting Baudrillard in a dark alley somewhere along the quai. Instead of the Seine in Paris, think here the Vltava, which winds through the city of Prague where Dallas artist Kit Reisch currently resides. Of Reisch’s work on view, it is the pieces focusing on the lyricism of Prague that shine the strongest. And quite literally so in “Cleansing Light,” a kinetic light installation. Requiring an entire room of the gallery for set-up, “Cleansing Light” is at once a moving contraption reminiscent of Jean Tinguely’s kinetic machines and sign-like image-maker. A light shines brightly into a large reflective bowl, around which circulates a meticulously crafted wooden silhouette of the steeples and rooftops that constitute the skyline of Prague. It is provocative in its low-tech metallic and gadgeted presence, while evanescent and even precious in its creation of shadows of urban form on the wall.
Though also a sculptor, Angel Fernandez’s work is far different from Reisch’s, bringing us back to the secret and unlikely romp of the unusual, a Viennese Victorian psychoanalyst and a Parisian postmodern philosopher. How Fernandez’s colorful and bulbous stuffed textile pieces qualify as “simulacrum” isn’t clear, but who cares because the work is imaginative, hedonistic, and compositionally solid. His charcoal drawings, painted resin models, and undulating and pendulous bodies beg for both touch and rumination.
Large-scale charcoal drawings synchronize with smaller, painted black resin sculptures, creating a presentation suggestive of Claes Oldenburg’s large-scale urban interventions. Like Oldenburg’s "Corridor Pin, Blue" at North Park Mall in Dallas, Fernandez’s small resin creaturely forms solicit realization as gigantic public sculpture. While these would be rendered in steel at a sublime scale if realized in a public plaza, Fernandez’s fabric pieces are perfect just as they are. The light cerulean bulbous bottom of "Pistil" sits on a tuff of yellow fabric. Up top is a yellow resin handle. Though indeed organic, it is uncertain as to what species it belongs. Plant? Animal? Dr. Seussian?
Neither opposites nor contrapuntal, Reisch and Fernandez are, simply put, two strong young artists doing different work. While perhaps separate exhibitions are due, the combination here – the promise of “sublimation” and “simulacrum” – creates a temporary union of ego, body, and machine.